Category Archives: The Difference Between Sales and Marketing

The Difference Between Sales and Marketing, part 1

It’s way too easy and way too common for sales and marketing to be seen as the same thing.  After all, marketing and all its tactics are only as effective as the sales they drive. And sales can only be produced when interest and introductions can be driven by marketing.

But too many of us (us can be sales or marketing folks) have a hard time ourselves describing the differences between these two eternally linked departments.

I’d like to take the next few weeks and break down how I see the differences, starting with this first rule:

Marketing is more than sales administration, and Sales is more than marketing implementation. 

In a sales-driven company, where the sales force beating the street is considered king, “marketing” could often be more appropriately named “sales administration.”  Marketing makes fliers, and websites, and promotions, and product launch plans, and the sales guys take it and run. In addition, the sales guys make suggestions for (or demand) new products, new tools, new campaigns, etc. that will help them close the deal now, while often bending the brand to serve their immediate needs.

On the flipside, other companies might be too marketing heavy, viewing their sales force as mere pawns within the bigger picture. Marketing sets the rules, the planning, the approach, and expects the sales force to implement it to the hilt. And the sales guy, who naturally has the inkling to do his own thing, feels trapped, frustrated and stuck.

Neither approach is completely wrong, but neither approach fairly represents the form and function of both sales and marketing. The beauty lies in the relationship between the two areas, realizing it takes both to make the business succeed.